The Afghan Ministry of Defense has confirmed security forces targeted a Taliban base in Khan Abad district in Kunduz province on Saturday and said an investigation will be conducted into subsequent reports of civilian casualties.
But the airstrikes were carried out in accordance with “active defense” procedures, the MoD stated.
The ministry said in a statement that “more than 30 Taliban, including two commanders named Qari Abdulrazeq and Mawlawi Abbas, were killed.”
In addition, eight others, including two commanders named Faizani and Qari Ebrahim, were wounded.
Vehicles and a large cache of weapons and ammunition were destroyed in the airstrikes, the statement read.
Initial reports indicated no civilians were harmed in the operation but the MoD stated they were aware of subsequent reports to the contrary.
According to the ministry, these claims will be investigated.
“ANDSF take allegations of civilian harm seriously and these claims will be investigated,” the statement read.
According to Fatima Aziz, a member of parliament who represents Kunduz, there had been two airstrikes.
“The first strike hit the Taliban base but the second one caused civilian casualties as they had gathered at the bombed site.”
Uzbeks refuse to return military aircraft flown from Afghanistan last year
Uzbekistan authorities say dozens of aircraft flown into their country in August last year, during the collapse of the former government, belong to the United States and will not be returned to the interim government in Kabul.
Afghan air force personnel flew almost 50 helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft to Uzbekistan in mid-August as former president Ashraf Ghani fled the country and Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) forces took control.
Several more aircraft and Black Hawk helicopters were also taken to neighboring Tajikistan.
The IEA has however repeatedly requested that these aircraft are returned to Afghanistan.
But in a recent interview with VOA, Ismatulla Irgashev, a senior presidential adviser, said the aircraft would not be going back to Kabul.
“The U.S. government paid for them,” said Irgashev, his nation’s most senior diplomat dealing with Afghan matters. “It funded the previous Afghan government. So, we believe it is totally up to Washington how to deal with them.
“We’ve kept this military equipment in agreement with the U.S. and have told the Taliban (IEA) so.”
Little has been said since about the issue, in part because of the sensitivity of the issue in Uzbek-Afghan relations and the reluctance of officials on all sides to discuss it, VOA reported.
But U.S. defense officials confirmed to VOA that both Uzbekistan and Tajikistan have no plans to give the aircraft to the IEA.
Blinken and Austin visit Kyiv; announce assistance package to Ukraine
The United States announced new military assistance for Ukraine and a renewed diplomatic push in the war-ravaged nation as President Joe Biden’s secretary of state and Pentagon chief completed a secrecy-shrouded trip to Kyiv.
In the highest-level American visit to the capital since Russia invaded in late February, top envoy Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told Ukraine’s president, Volodomyr Zelenskyy, and his advisers that the U.S. would provide more than $300 million in foreign military financing and had approved a $165 million sale of ammunition, the Associated Press reported.
They also said Biden would soon announce his nominee to be ambassador to Ukraine and that American diplomats who left Ukraine before the war would start returning to the country this coming week. The U.S. Embassy in Kyiv will remain closed for the moment.
Austin and Blinken announced a total of $713 million in foreign military financing for Ukraine and 15 allied and partner countries; some $322 million is earmarked for Kyiv. The remainder will be split among NATO members and other nations that have provided Ukraine with critical military supplies since the war with Russia began, officials said.
U.S. officials said they believed the new assistance would satisfy at least some of the Ukrainians’ urgent pleas for more help. New artillery, including howitzers, continues to be delivered at a rapid pace to Ukraine’s military, which is being trained on its use in neighboring countries, the officials said.
UN chief heading to Turkey ahead of Moscow, Kyiv visits
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will visit Ankara before heading to Moscow next week to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin and then to Ukraine for talks with President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, a UN statement said on Saturday.
Guterres will visit the Turkish capital on Monday, where he will be received by President Tayyip Erdogan, the statement said.
The UN aid chief, Martin Griffiths, said on April 18 that Turkey was a valuable host for humanitarian talks between Ukraine and Russia.
Eri Kaneko, Guterres’ associate spokesperson, told a news briefing on Friday that Guterres would head to Moscow on Tuesday and meet Putin as well as have a working meeting and lunch with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, hoping to discuss what can be done to bring peace to Ukraine, Reuters reported.
The United Nations also said on Friday that Guterres would meet with Zelenskiy on Thursday, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba and staff at UN agencies to discuss the scaling up of humanitarian assistance efforts.
IEA urge Afghan businessmen, investors abroad to return home
China removes some COVID test rules on travellers from U.S.
UN’s special rapporteur in Afghanistan to assess human rights situation
Finland, Sweden submit application to join NATO
Tesla cars, Bluetooth locks, vulnerable to hackers, researchers say
Badakhshan establishes new anti-insurgency unit
Chinese company to process pine nuts in Afghanistan
World Bank to push ahead with some Afghan projects
Zerbena: National budget delay discussed
Central bank sets up telegraphic transfer system for foreign deposits
Tahawol: US foreign policy toward Afghanistan discussed
Interview: US envoy for Afghanistan speaks about IEA’s recognition and US policy
Interview – Karim Khurram discusses the collapse of the Republic and rise of IEA
Zerbena: Challenges in construction sector discussed
Saar: Calls for reopening of girls’ schools discussed
Latest News5 days ago
UNICEF again calls for the reopening of girls’ schools
Latest News5 days ago
‘It’s regressive. It’s wrong’ – UK’s UN envoy on IEA hijab
Latest News4 days ago
Int’l recognition could follow domestic approval of IEA govt: EU envoy
Business4 days ago
IEA approves national budget for solar year 1401
Sport4 days ago
China gives up 2023 Asian Cup hosting rights – AFC
Latest News4 days ago
Tajik president discusses situation in Afghanistan with Putin
Latest News4 days ago
IEA and Iran security officials meet to resolve border tensions
COVID-194 days ago
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern tests positive for COVID